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Ross 03 Leave Me Breathless(10)

By:Cherrie Lynn

Because she was floating somewhere around Jupiter. A whole other world sprawled wide before her, so far removed from her own.

She was looking forward to the visit. She just didn’t know if she could live there.

Chapter Six

The morning dawned clear and beautiful…and planted a dagger between Macy’s eyes. Despite the alcohol and the orgasms, she’d tossed and turned all night.

She couldn’t even remember what she and Seth had talked about after the earth had moved; she only knew that the sleepy cadence of his voice was enormously sexy. Though she’d hardly been able to hold her eyes open by the time she hung up, she hadn’t wanted to say good night to him.

There was no way she was going to make it in to work today, but she doubted any of the employees would miss her. She didn’t amble into the kitchen for coffee until almost noon, and then she lounged in her pajamas—which she’d slipped into only upon waking almost completely naked this morning—until after two. Her phone was troublingly silent, but then if what he’d once told her was true, he slept late himself.

And she wanted to hear from him. Imagine that. Even in the back of her intoxicated mind last night, she’d taken some comfort in knowing she might wake up this morning having come to her senses. That her totally out-of-character behavior around him was simply the result of minor glitches in her normally mundane life. A person could take only so much monotony before they had to let off a little steam, right? Seth had been her pressure release. Unfortunately, the pressure had built back up overnight.

If he was still on board, she couldn’t wait for tonight.

There was damage control to do in the meantime. By now, Candace would probably be at Brian’s side at Dermamania, and Macy owed her an apology. Not just for the few tense minutes they’d spent discussing Candace’s lifestyle choices last night, but for the past year they’d spent discussing them. Seth had been right with the whole live-and-let-live thing. As he’d said, if there was distance between Macy and her friends, it was because she’d put it there. The world wouldn’t be crammed into her neat little unchanging box no matter how much she wanted it to be.

Candace’s life was hers to live. God knows she’d fought hard enough to break free from people telling her what to do. Macy didn’t need to be the one stark reminder of Candace’s dark times before Brian had come along. The girl didn’t deserve that, and Macy was going to start working on changing it. Today.

Still, walking into the tattoo parlor where her best friend spent most of her time away from home and class always gave Macy the shudders.

Dark sunglasses shielding her eyes, she drove to the parlor and deflated when she didn’t recognize Seth’s car in the parking lot. Not that he was the reason she needed to come here to do this, but seeing him would’ve been a perk.

Inside, the usual heavy metal was playing at thankfully tolerable levels and the banter was flying fast and furious. Candace was nowhere in sight.

“…all directly out of your friggin’ minds,” Brian was saying without looking up from the tattoo he was working on.

“Dude, that woman ranks off the top of the fuckability scale,” the client under his needle said. Macy wasn’t sure if arguing with your tattooist in the middle of the process was the smartest thing one could do.

“Agreed,” one of the other artists—she thought they called him Tay—announced from across the room, where he was perched on a stool in front of the computer screen. “I’m staring at the evidence right now. I’d hit it like a big rig with no brakes.”

“She’s hot, okay, but she’s got nothing on Maria Brink or Cristina Scabbia.”

“Dude, you just have an Italian boner for Scabbia.”

“Hey, fuck—” Brian took that moment to lift his head and address Tay, but his gaze landed right on Macy still standing near the door. “Oh, hey, Mace.”

She grinned. “Would you be having this discussion in front of your girlfriend?”

One corner of his mouth tugged upward, and a dimple dug deep into his cheek. “She’s privy to the never-ending hottest-chick-in-metal debate, don’t worry. She knows she outshines them all.”

“Awww,” the guys said in unison, breaking into laughter. Tay muttered something that sounded awfully like “pussy whipped”.

“Says the choad who has none,” Brian fired back.

Macy pitched her voice higher to be heard over the bubbling testosterone. “Is she around?”

Brian nodded toward the back of the parlor. “She’s in my office. Go on back.”


He watched as she skirted gingerly around the counter to the hallway. “And how was your night?”

If only he knew—and she hoped like hell he didn’t. She realized she hadn’t even thought to take her sunglasses off. Number-one hallmark of a hangover. Her grunted reply caused the guys to snicker.

She passed Starla, one of the two female artists, in the hall, and exchanged brief pleasantries. Then she peeked around Brian’s office door to find Candace at the desk with her phone crammed between her ear and shoulder, typing furiously at the keyboard. With her hair pulled up in a stylishly sloppy bun, she looked a little tired, but her pretty face brightened when she noticed Macy, and she smiled and waved her inside. Good sign.

Macy pushed her glasses to the top of her head and shut the door before dropping into a chair across from the desk. Candace hung up her phone.

“She lives!” she said.

Macy rubbed her eyes, which were being assaulted by the too-bright bulbs overhead. “Well…sort of. I think.”

Candace tucked a stray wisp of pink-and-blonde hair behind her ear. “So, spill. I’ve been waiting to hear this all day.”

“Spill what?”

Her friend crossed her arms and sat back. “Oh, come on. Don’t be like that. I’m not one to ask for details, because I know how you are. But I’m dying over here.”

“Oh, it was nothing—”

“You did something. You were on his lap. Even if you only kissed him, it’s still something. At last.”

“Okay, so it was something. That’s all I’m willing to divulge at the moment.”

“You are nothing if not stubborn, woman.”

“Listen, I’m not here to talk about him. I’m here because I need to talk to you.”

“Do you want to go across the street to the coffee shop or—”

“No. Let me get this out.” Sighing, Macy rubbed her temples. Why should it be so hard to say you’re sorry to someone you knew as well as yourself? “I just…I owe you an apology. A really big one. And not just about how I acted like a complete bitch last night, although that’s a big part of it.”

Candace’s eyebrows rose. She didn’t comment.

“I’m sorry about the attitude I’ve had, how I try to talk you out of everything, and some of the things I’ve said about you and Brian being together. A million times, I’m sorry. You don’t need to hear that crap. You’re happy, and you deserve to be happy after everything you guys went through.”

Relief washed over her friend’s face, though somehow it made Macy feel worse rather than better. Candace must have been waiting a long time to hear her say this. “Thank you. That means a lot to me.”

“You were always like a little sister to me, and I always felt like you sort of looked to me for guidance in a way, so seeing you stand on your own two feet and do your own thing was…well, it was awesome. But it was hard on me too. I thought I was going to lose you, and I’m still afraid you’ll get fed up with me someday.”

Tears welled in Candace’s eyes. Macy tilted her head and studied her. She’d always been an emotional girl, but something about her wasn’t quite right today. “I’m not going anywhere. I hate that you even think that.”

“I know that, I was just being selfish and immature—” Before she could complete the thought, Candace bolted from her chair, and the two of them collided in a fierce hug at the corner of the desk. “I’ll be better from now on,” Macy promised.

“I love you just the way you are, Mace.” Candace sniffled noisily into her ear. Macy pulled back from her and looked into troubled blue eyes, just now noticing the faint shadows underneath.

“Are you all right, though? Everything okay?”

Sighing, Candace stepped back and returned to her chair. Macy reclaimed her own, perching on the edge and hoping nothing was upset in her friend’s world.

“Everything’s okay, it’s only that…well, Brian and I…” She glanced at the closed door and caught her bottom lip between her teeth.

“You aren’t fighting, are you?” Macy whispered.

Candace shook her head. “No, not fighting,” she whispered back. “I guess you could say engaging in a very serious, very intense ongoing discussion.”

She had a feeling it had nothing to do with the hottest chick in metal. “What’s up?”

“Well, I graduate in three months, you know. There’s all these things I can do…and I had all these plans. But then I started helping him out here, and I love it. I want to be here, with him. And he feels like I’m throwing away years of hard work if I just hang my degree on the wall and keep working in his studio. I’m not throwing anything away as long as I’m doing what I love. I’m happy taking care of the business side of it so he can stay out front where he wants to be. I like knowing he’s right down the hall.” She sighed and pressed her fingers to her temples, bracing her elbows on the desk. “Am I completely psycho or something? Maybe he wants to get me out of here. Maybe I’m suffocating him.”